The pope emeritus flew over Rome and into luxurious oblivion, leaving a church in shambles and a Vatican conclave without some prominent cardinals who are only the most recent to resign for sexual abuse allegations.
Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer went all 1950s on her employees, telling them they have to work in a building.
Hackers hit Burger King’s Twitter account, creating a double crisis beyond bits and burgers.
NASCAR managed to transfer the thrill-a-second mayhem of the track into the stands at Daytona.
And President Obama and the Republican House continued to fiddle while thousands of American jobs burned.
Time here is most often spent suggesting ways to solve crises. The emphasis today, instead, is to convince you that one will strike you or your company and that you need to prepare. More than likely you will not see it coming [Burger King] or if you’ve game-played the possibility, you won’t really believe it can happen until it does [NASCAR].
The best time to manage your next crisis is before it occurs. Too expensive? Pay a crisis manager pennies now when it’s calm, or tens of thousands to put out the fire.
The dearth of companies and CEOs who plan for a crisis stems from a mixture of complacency, arrogance, hope and full schedules. A crisis training session takes time. It costs some money. It pulls top executives away from what they are doing. But even if you bundle all that together, it’s a fraction of what’s needed if you must manage a crisis already underway.
Skeptical? Let’s take a hypothetical private company that owns 30 regional assisted living facilities, nursing homes and memory centers. A day-long training session for key executives and the administrators of the facilities might cost $10,000 to $25,000, depending on location.
After an Alzheimer’s patient wanders away out a back door on a winter’s evening and is found by police nearly frozen to death in a snow bank a mile away, the reputation damage will take 10 times those amounts to repair and restore. The equation is simple, and very real.
Don’t wait. Call a pro. Set aside a day for crisis management training. It will be the best decision you make.
The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with seven offices in the Northeast and Southeast. Learn more about EMA at http://www.mower.com. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.